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MUMBOJOIBO                                     130

from any thing worse than a slight headache they do not hesitate
to consult a 'Western "physician.1 Naturally, they do not advertise
these lapses from the true faith ; it would not be good for trade ;
and in the meantime they continue to treat the ignorant millions
of India with a variety of dopes which are tragically ineffective.

This is not the place for a lengthy description of the principles
of Ayurveda ; several volumes would be needed. The main body
of the 'science'—if it can be dignified by such a name—is to be
found in the ancient Yedic scriptures, which were, of course, com-
posed in Sanscrit. For over two thousand years Sanscrit was the
exclusive perquisite of the Brahmins, the most conservative body
of men that any nation has ever produced since history bsgan. It
may therefore be gathered that Ayurveda did not advance very
far along the lines of pure research. It did, however, accumulate
to itself over the centuries a considerable debris of extraneous
superstitions, which had no connection with the original Vedic
hymns. For instance, it borrowed a good deal of the jargon of
astrology. It also allowed authority to two ancient Hindu
physicians by name Charaka and Susruta, whose works, translated
into Arabic by Ar Razi, are among the curios of medical literature*
Anything that sounded likely to appeal to the credulity of the
peasant was incorporated in Ayurveda ; it became a sort of witch's
cauldron; and its brew, though flavoured strongly with a religious
essence, was sharpened by scraps of black magic, local fairy
tales, and even, from time to time, oddments from Western con-
sulting rooms. The brew, none the less, remains largely poisonous
and—to Western Ideas—wholly bogus.
This is the system which, in the name of nationalism, is rapidly
assuming responsibility for the health of one-fifth of the human
1 One classic example, of course, was afforded by G-andhi himself. Gandhi had
spent a large part of his life inveighing against European doctors, whose hospitals
he described as 'institutions for propagating sin/ Yet when he himself developed
appendicitis he forgot all about his Ayurvedic counsellors, and was operated upon,
by a British doctor.